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Adversity in the Chronicles of Narnia: Book One

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Adversity in The Chronicles of Narnia

By: Rowan Edy
599025003

The trials and hardships in life is what builds us as people. Adversity and setbacks are what make what and us we learn from to better ourselves in the field of all aspects of life. The four siblings, (Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy) in the movie The Chronicles of Narnia all experience great adversity. How they deal with these failures and overcome them is an example of humanity and coming of age.

The beginning of the movie pans out to German bombers flying over London. The Pevensies are seen rushing to a bomb shelter in their backyard. World war two is a time of adversity in it’s own terms. The Pevensie’s are living during the London Blitz, when Germans would constantly bombard English cities. The children learn quickly through the misery of having to leave war-torn London that living there is a failure within itself and that they must live in the countryside of Scotland to be safe. The children's father is fighting as a foot soldier in the British army. Peter, the eldest brother immediately takes on the parental role of the family, alongside Susan, his sister after his mother remains in London. Already the children have to grow faster than normal circumstances, as they have to be strong and guide the two younger siblings. This sets the tone of for the film, as the children experience a loneliness, heartache and frustration and great adversity inside the world of Narnia.

Almost all the characters experience adversity in a variety of ways. The Wardrobe represents a parallel universe, where Narnia is also in a war the same time that Earth is. The first tribulations of adversity are shown in Mr. Tumnus, when he attempts to abduct Lucy and bring her the White Witch. Tumnus lives under the rule of the White Witch, as there has been a winter for two hundred years. One of the White Witches laws states that any creature that finds a child of Adam or Eve must be brought to the White Witch. Failure to do so is punishable by death. When Tumnus meets Lucy he immediately likes her. But he knows that he must follow through with bringing Lucy to the Witch or he will die. He sees that Lucy is is friend and she is pure of heart. Mr. Tumnus fights his fear of the White Witch and decides to free Lucy knowing his actions are punishable by death. Mr. Tumnus’s adversity is the overcoming of the White Witch’s rule over Narnia and recognizing he would rather die than live under her rule in the simple act of saving Lucy. He begins to believe in a free Narnia. When the Witch captures him he tells her he would rather die than live under her rule. The witch kills him. Aslan later brings Mr. Tumnus back to life.

The oldest of the Pevensie children Peter, experiences a series of trials in the movie. One of Peter’s major trials throughout the entire movie is trying to keep his younger brother Edmund in line. Edmund’s rebellious nature is extremely frustrating for Peter, who by nature believes in order and rule. Peter lacks understanding for his younger brother’s personality, which is one of rebellion, though Edmund lacks a concept of consequences. Peter often does not show much understanding for what Edmund is experiencing. Peter tends to see things through his own eyes and sometimes he lacks compassion. Edmund’s character traits lead to more serious problems for the family and the inhabitants of Narnia. Edmund chooses to go with the white witch, because she gives him things like hot chocolate and Turkish delight. Edmund is greedy for these things and agrees to help the White Witch bring the other three siblings to her. When Peter realizes The Witch has trapped his brother, he begins to act with courage, instead of running back to the wardrobe in safety. He now has to face the Witch. Although he is very frightened of the world, he knows he must retrieve Edmund at all costs. Peter has to save his siblings, and through several trials, he learns to take initiative and be courageous against the many enemies he faces. Peter admits to Aslan that his behavior towards Edmund wasn’t fair and drove Edmund away towards the White Witch. Through adversity Peter comes to have a mature understanding of his own part in the conflict. Most significantly his understanding of Edmund is learned and he is no longer intolerant of his brother as he shows compassion and forgiveness.

Edmund’s trials of adversity come through a realization of the White Witch after she begins to invoke fear into the young Pevensie boy. When he first meets the Witch she is warm and welcoming and soft like snow. She begins to play on Edmund’s greed and anger. Turning him against his own family through the use of hot chocolate and sweets. The sweets and hot chocolate are a symbol of greed that she uses as a tool for Edmund to trust and do her bidding. Edmund wants to be treated with respect even though he isn’t treating his others siblings with respect himself. Edmund soon realizes the Witch’s facade to be a ruse. She used Edmund as a key whistleblower to her small victories. The four children are of a prophecy foretold by the deep magic. The Witch fears the prophecy knowing that she cannot allow the children to become the true rulers in power of Narnia that Aslan is said to crown himself. Edmund is rebellious to his older siblings due to his bullying and condescending nature. He is a bully and thus so always expects to be on top. The problem that he faces is the fact that the White Witch was using him from the beginning to give away secrets and other information to capture the other Pevensies and maintain her frozen rule over Narnia. Edmund goes through a significant change when the White Witch begins to treat Edmund and other creatures poorly. The young brother overcomes Adversity by becoming sympathetic and learning compassion. Edmund begins to see the error of his ways joining the side against the Witch helping overthrow her alongside his family and the Narnians. Edmund’s overcoming of adversity was the final barrier that allowed Narnia to succeed in a way that lead to Edmund understanding his own nature and learning from his mistakes.

Lucy and Susan also experience adversity. Lucy is ignored by her siblings and even teased at points. She is not fully respected and seen as being incapable because she is young. Although, when faced with the need to rescue Mr. Tumnus and Edmund, Lucy rises to the occasion, and proves to herself and her siblings that she is capable taking action. Susan is the most fearful of the four. She is cautious of many decisions like staying in Narnia from the moment they set foot there. She made excuses to go back to the wardrobe because it was too cold, dangerous and unknown. Susan does not let her fears get the best of her. When Edmund is lost, she proceeds into Narnia with her siblings to find Edmund at all costs. Susan grows to be less fearful and becomes part of the battle, as an archer, at the end of the movie. Both Lucy and Susan through the adversity of their journey through Narnia learn about themselves. Lucy learns she can command respect from her siblings and Susan becomes more confident in her ability to trust her own judgment and the judgment of others.

The adversity the four children experience in the Chronicles of Narnia play on the deeper questions in life like growing up and taking initiative and having courage. In order to grow one must face obstacles in life and experience hardships to truly understand themselves and others. Life is about adversity and It can come in the form of anything such as death, illness, financial loss, and injury. Nobody expects it to happen. Misfortune happens erratically and cannot be directly prepared for. The characters in this book can represent anyone. All people in life experience adversity. It is part of the human condition. How we deal with it is what makes us truly grow as individuals. In The Chronicles of Narnia all four children successfully face their fears. The story is a perfect model of what overcoming challenges and achieving should be. Not everyone in real life overcomes their boundaries and experiences this degree of success. People face trials in different ways. Some choose to run and other chooses to face it head on. What is true in life is those who choose to face it head on usually achieve the greatest success and come to know themselves.

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